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DTV Transition Has Driven 5% Of TV Households To Pay Service: Survey

By: Todd Spangler, Multichannel News

The digital TV transition has prompted 5% of U.S. television households to subscribe to a cable or satellite service in the past year, according to a recent survey conducted by research firm Knowledge Networks.

Overall, about 26% U.S. TV households in the past year either bought a digital converter, a new television set or a pay-TV subscription to prepare for the end of analog over-the-air TV.

The majority of the country's TV stations will switch to digital-only broadcasting next Friday, June 12. That transition date was pushed back from Feb. 17.

Knowledge Networks surveyed 2,498 TV households nationwide via telephone from Feb. 20 to April 11, with a margin of error of 2% for questions asked of the total sample.

Of those surveyed, 18% said they had bought a digital converter for an analog TV to receive digital signals; 8% bought a digital TV or an HDTV set specifically in preparation for the transition; and 5% started a new pay TV subscription, also specifically in anticipation of the switch to all-digital broadcasts. (The numbers do not add up to 26% because there is some overlap among the groups.)

The survey also found awareness of the transition has increased, to 91% of all TV homes, up from 85% in 2008 and 45% in 2007.

Among the 18% of TV homes that bought a digital converter, around 80% used the government coupon program, according to Knowledge Networks. In homes that still have only broadcast reception, three times as many -- 53% -- reported they bought a digital converter in the past year, and 93% of those used the coupon program.

The number of sets per home relying on regular broadcast reception averaged 0.48 in the new survey, almost one-third the average of 1.32 in a spring 2006.

Knowledge Networks, founded in 1998, is based in Menlo Park, Calif.




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